SNX3 controls Wingless/Wnt secretion through regulating retromer-dependent recycling of Wntless

Cell Res. 2011 Dec;21(12):1677-90. doi: 10.1038/cr.2011.167. Epub 2011 Nov 1.


Drosophila Wingless (Wg) acts as a morphogen during development. Wg secretion is controlled by a seven-pass transmembrane cargo Wntless (Wls). We have recently identified retromer as a key regulator involved in Wls trafficking. As sorting nexin (SNX) molecules are essential components of the retromer complex, we hypothesized that specific SNX(s) is required for retromer-mediated Wnt secretion. Here, we generated Drosophila mutants for all of the eight snx members, and identified Drosophila SNX3 (DSNX3) as an essential molecule required for Wg secretion. We show that Wg secretion and its signaling activity are defective in Dsnx3 mutant clones in wing discs. Wg levels in the culture medium of Dsnx3-depleted S2 cells are also markedly reduced. Importantly, Wls levels are strikingly reduced in Dsnx3 mutant cells, and overexpression of Wls can rescue the Wg secretion defect observed in Dsnx3 mutant cells. Moreover, DSNX3 can interact with the retromer component Vps35, and co-localize with Vps35 in early endosomes. These data indicate that DSNX3 regulates Wg secretion via retromer-dependent Wls recycling. In contrast, we found that Wg secretion is not defective in cells mutant for Drosophila snx1 and snx6, two components of the classical retromer complex. Ectopic expression of DSNX1 or DSNX6 fails to rescue the Wg secretion defect in Dsnx3 mutant wing discs and in Dsnx3 dsRNA-treated S2 cells. These data demonstrate the specificity of the DSNX3-retromer complex in Wls recycling. Together, our findings suggest that DSNX3 acts as a cargo-specific component of retromer, which is required for endocytic recycling of Wls and Wg/Wnt secretion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sorting Nexins / genetics
  • Sorting Nexins / metabolism*
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*
  • Wnt1 Protein / metabolism*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Sorting Nexins
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • Vps35 protein, Drosophila
  • Wls protein, Drosophila
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • wg protein, Drosophila